A Greener World’s Animal Welfare Approved Certification is the ONLY pasture-based animal welfare certification that covers the animal’s ENTIRE LIFE.
AGN Roots Grassfed Whey is sourced exclusively from Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) certified farms by A Greener World (AGW) because we know that happy cows make the best whey. We are proud to support and add critical mass to the movement sweeping the agricultural heart of our planet.
At AGN Roots we are honored to be named “1st & Only Animal Welfare Approved Protein Powder” certified by A Greener World!
After reading this article we hope that when you see a product claim “100% Grassfed” like so many do, you know there’s only one certification that guarantees a life on pasture versus the last 30 days before being milk (Grassfed finished). Read More - The Myth of the “100% Grassfed Brands.”
Introduction – AGW (A Greener World)
Let us introduce you to A Greener World. Although established in 2014, unless you are studying sustainable farming or working within the companies leading the effort, you may not be acquainted.
For the past five years, AGW has served as a beacon of positive change in agricultural transparency for your foods. Some pertinent snippets from their mission statement include:
- To identify and promote agricultural systems that have a positive impact on the environment, society and animals (wild and farmed)
- To educate consumers about the environmental, social, and animal outcomes of their food purchasing decisions.
- To establish and promote trusted farm certification programs that help reconnect the consumer and food producer by encouraging—and rewarding—positive farm management changes.
- To support independent farmers who are committed to sustainable livestock production.
Certified Grassfed Whey is Better than Organic -
It’s our goal at AGN Roots to increase demand for products sourced from farms waving the AGW flag. As of 2019, especially in the United States, most health-conscious adults can recognize a “USDA Organic” label a mile away. However, when it comes to cattle, what matters to their health has little to do with “organic feeds or Organic Concentrates.” A happy cow whose physiological wellbeing is a priority and whose diet consists of grasses produces a quality of milk that far exceeds any organically grain-fed counterparts’. Read more about how happiness and protein quality are related here - Happy & Healthy Cows Make the Highest Quality Protein.
Have you ever wondered why or how farmers began introducing grain feeds for cows in the first place; with it being evident that mother nature intended for all cattle to graze on grasslands, it certainly begs the inquiry? Well, the answer is in a different blog, but we can assure you, it wasn’t due to the evolution of cattle or for the benefit of their health. To learn more about how the advent of grain-based diets became normalized here - Why is Grassfed Whey Better?
Unfortunately, the minimum standards set by the USDA around the humane treatment animals and their wellbeing have very little to do with organic concentrates or grains. It is instead a bare minimum, one that generates market differentiation without producing health. The truth is, “perceived health” is more comfortable and cheaper than working towards a massive paradigm shift towards much longer, more sustainable solutions. AWA standards represent this shift, and we hope that these will one day be considered everyday norms.
Tip for You #1: Protein Powders that claim “grassfed” without mention of their farms or accreditation are nothing more than “perceived health” for a premium.
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) Standards
A Greener World (AGW) represents the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare and environmental sustainability across the globe. The basic premise of their criteria is that animals must be able to behave naturally in their day-to-day lives while feeling physically and psychologically secure. AGW is recognized as the industry leader in auditing and certifying family farms that raise their animals sustainably, outdoors on pasture, while meeting or exceeding the highest animal welfare standards.
Did You Know - There is absolutely no fee associated with the program. The only way to become AWA certified by AGW is for a farm to objectively demonstrate this uncommon commitment to the care of their animals and land through the audit program executed by some of the most professional compliance auditors worldwide. The AWA seal is not for sale, but rather is a hard-earned badge of integrity and transparency. It's our hope to one day have animal welfare approved dairy be the everyday expectation.
AGN Roots, like A Greener World, believes that there is an intrinsic connection between stress-free animals and the quality of the milk they can produce. We believe that physiological wellbeing and day-to-day environment are the difference between highly nutritious milk and the mass-produced milk most of today.
We often get asked -
“Do you add free-form BCAAs to your whey protein powder ?”
The basis of the question is rooted in the quantity of BCAA’s we disclose per serving of AGN Roots Grassfed Whey. To have 6.5 of the 25 grams of protein be branched-chain amino acids leads the next best protein powder (Their claims are unverified, but) by more than 10% in terms of concentration.
Our grassfed whey naturally contains the highest concentration of branched-chain amino acids as a direct result of these intrinsic connections. There are no undisclosed added ingredients in our whey protein. AGN Grassfed Whey is only two ingredients, grassfed whey Protein isolate & Sunflower (to ensure mechanical denaturing isn’t needed to disperse smoothly with water).
The branched-chained amino acids, however, are not the only benefits of milk from happy cows. Our Amino Acid profile will show over four times the concentration of Cysteine (Conditionally Essential Amino Acid), which is critical for Glutathione production. Authentic grassfed whey from countries like Ireland who never need to rebalance soil with nitrogen components will also show 100 to 1000 times fewer concentrations of heavy metals than disclosed by other leading brands produced in Northern California, for example.
Below are several farm requirements to be certified “Animal Welfare Approved” by AGW:
What Are Some of these AWA Standards?
- Animals HAVE to be Pasture-Raised. Animal Welfare Approved Certification is the only “Entire Life on Pasture” based certification offered in the industry. Animals grow old on pasture lands rich with grass or other low plants providing a primary source of food for the animals to graze. The reason most grassfed whey brands fail to obtain this certification is that it can be wildly expensive to water a pasture that is not naturally sufficient to meet the appetite of a grassfed herd for life.
- Farms are Not Permitted to Adopt a Dual-Production System. Unlike the USDA, a single farm can not achieve animal welfare certification if they have land or animals allocated under a lesser quality industrialized standard. Only farms 100% dedicated to raising animals with a higher-welfare approach can apply for accreditation. Furthermore, “blanket coverage” is not tolerated under AGW’s requirements. To our supporters, this ensures that when you purchase AGN Roots Grassfed Whey, the milk used to create our product is entirely traceable to a certified operation approved onsite by AGW auditors.
- Certifications of Individual Farms are Permitted ONLY. Those farms are family-owned, not owned by corporations or businesses, another massive benefit of supporting farms under AGW Approved Animal Welfare certification. When it comes to dairy quality, it is at odds with quantity. The highest dairy producers worldwide have forgotten what’s important. Although they produce the most, they are responsible for the drift in quality over time to the point where high-quality, nutrient-rich milk has become an unrecognizable relic, absent from most of the marketplace.
- The farm must meet the most comprehensive standards for high welfare farming. Our animals have unfettered access to clean water, fresh air, clean bedding, shelter, and a stress-free environment, which includes a constant line-of-sight to each other and their offspring.
Did you know – The term “Grassfed” (as it pertains to your whey) isn’t assured by any governmental regulatory body and can be printed on any whey protein package without repercussions. Without proper accreditations from 3rd party non-profits, a consumer shopping around for the “healthiest whey protein” will end up purchasing the best market product. Brands will attempt to convince consumers that the costs of accredited certifications are too much to bear, however its critical to understand that the best credentials and certifications for animal-welfare and sustainable farming practices are entirely FREE.
Truly Grass-fed dairy is a proud title that is well earned and hard-won. If you cannot find direct sourcing information on your whey, meaning where your cows were raised and on what farms, we can confidently say the “Grassfed” labeling is nothing more than a marketing ploy meant to line the pockets of the brand you are trusting at your expense.
Leading by Example - AGN Roots Whey from milk exclusively produced on family farms belonging to a Co-Op under the TrulyGrassfed™ family located in southeast Ireland in the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Wicklow, Laois, Kildare, Waterford, and Wexford.
Many whey protein brands claim and use marketing terms like “Free Range,” “Organic,” “Grass-Fed,” “Premium,” etc. These claims are unregulated and have nothing to do with animal welfare or environmental sustainability. We find it deplorable that so many brands are supporting brutal farming practices, and that consumers are unknowingly making it possible. If you would like us to investigate a competitor’s product making such claims without proper evidence, please message us!
Certified Grass-fed by AGW
With so much misleading marketing emblazoned on packages, what is the best approach for consumers? Look no further: the gold-standard for verifying the integrity of the grassfed claim is here. The best and number 1 condition of being “Certified Grassfed” by AGW is becoming “Animal welfare Approved” certified by AGW. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Beware that other “grassfed certifications” do not convey the same meaning. Although it’s great to see the increased interest by the whey protein community in certifying grassfed whey protein claims, we sadly report that even with a fancy certification logo (see below), more and more of these assurance factories are popping up from a marketing demand ONLY. Rather than helping, they continue to dilute the value of authentic farming operations.
Below is a handy comparison between what the industry currently has to offer in terms of “Grassfed” food labels and their differences. As you may notice, A Greener World Certified Grassfed stacks up as a label favorite!
Interestingly enough, most brands marketing and selling “Grassfed Whey” are not certified, nor are they sourcing from grassfed farming operations at all. AGN Roots is very optimistic that with knowledge comes a drive for regulatory change, so please visit A Greener World to learn more about real transparency in food production and what that means. The chart below is just one of the incredible resources this movement has to offer.
Final Tip - For general assurances of integrity in manufacturing, sourcing, and branding, look for the Informed-Choice & Informed-Sport Certifications. They are the best at what they do for peace of mind. As for the “Grassfed” claim, it is tough to find the truth hidden by so much creative marketing. Start with the basics, where is it from, what is it claiming, can it be readily verified, and if not, why not?
In closing, we hope we provided some encouraging information on the non-profit A Greener World organization, and why we need to promote exclusively sourcing from Animal Welfare Approved Certified farms!